Dave King addresses relationship between him and Rangers board after Club 1872 deal

Outgoing majority Rangers shareholder Dave King insists there has no issue between him and the board after he agreed to sell his stake in the Ibrox outfit to fans group Club 1872.
Dave King is excited by the thoughts of Rangers' future.Dave King is excited by the thoughts of Rangers' future.
Dave King is excited by the thoughts of Rangers' future.

Former chairman King announced last week that he had struck a deal with Club 1872 over a three-year period that would result in the supporters’ organisation taking over his 20.37 per cent stake in Rangers, making them the largest stakeholder. The deal is dependent on 20,000 Rangers fans to get on board and fund the transfer of shares from the South Africa-based businessman, who stepped down as chairman in March, at a price of 23.7p per share. There is a three-year deadline on the deal with King offering a price of just 20p per share if it is completed before December next year.

In a long interview with prominent Rangers blog Four Lads Had A Dream, King revealed that there is a healthy relationship between him and the current board, who are headed up by Douglas and John Park.

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Replying to a question over his relationship with the Ibrox hierarchy, King said: “Not at all. Absolutely not. The board members … it is the same board that I chaired, the same individuals who were part of the recovery process and, as I see it, they have continued with that process and certainly, for my part, I am delighted with the way that the board has continued. The board are a safe pair of hands for the club right now.

"I certainly haven’t heard any rumours in that regard and there has been no fall-out between myself and the board. I stepped down at the end of March, which was consistent with the statement that I made at the AGM to step down once we had the funding secured so that the legacy of the financial deficit that I had been party to incurring was properly squared away. At the time when I stepped down, I did say that Douglas did ask me at the end of March if I would consider extending my stay on the board to see the club through the Covid crisis. I said ‘Douglas, I just can’t do that’. There was an intention, from a board point of view, to keep me on the board a little bit longer. But I felt that the Covid crisis was a new crisis and probably best dealt with by those on the ground in Scotland given the travel restrictions. It was an issue that the people in Scotland should deal with.

"Plus, from my own perspective, I had some very challenging, and continue to do, times for my business in South Africa. I was not able to agree to the request of the board to extend beyond March. I think they were looking at it saying ‘it is another crisis, Dave, can you come and help us out with this?’ I just couldn’t do it, but I don’t think there was any falling out with that. It was just a request from the board that I was unable to comply with.”

A shareholder issue

King did admit that his decision to strike a deal with Club 1872 was not discussed with the board. “No. This is a shareholder issue,” he explained. “From the time that I left the board, I have just been another shareholder, I have not had access to any information from any director given the affairs of the club. I am just another shareholder and this was a confidential discussion between myself and Club 1872. It was very tightly managed in terms of confidentiality because one knows in all things Rangers that these things can leak and develop a life of their own.

"We maintained very strong confidentiality between ourselves up until the time we reached agreement and were going to make the announcement. In advance of that, I let the board know as a courtesy that I was going to make an announcement. There was no discussion with the board and there was no reason to discuss it with the board. It is a shareholder issue, not a board issue.

"I would be very surprised if the Rangers board weren’t delighted at this development. I guess they would have some concern over what was going to happen with my shareholding some time in the future if I wasn’t around. I think what this has done is take away a lot of uncertainty and at least the board can now look forward and say ‘well, we now know where Dave’s shares are going to end up’. They are going to end up with the supporters. This board certainly is very alert to the fact that supporters have been key in getting the club back to where it is at the moment and very alert to the need to retain a close relationship with supporters and avoid the disconnect we saw from the Ashley/Easdale era. So I would be very surprised if any of the board members were not happy and didn’t welcome this initiative from me.”

Welcomed on board

King is convinced the board will be open to a Club 1872 representative on the board. “I would imagine that they would be delighted,” he added. “One of the things that we did over the last couple of years was to try and bring Club 1872 and the supporters closer to the board because we were very conscious at the level of disconnect that the supporters had with the club for a number of years during the Craig Whyte and then Ashley/Easdale eras. One of the priorities for the board was to reintroduce regular contact with Club 1872 and bring supporters back into the fold to make sure that their voices were heard and that they were being taken very seriously, as the supporters deserve.”

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